Did you know that UberBLACK was actually the very first version of Uber? Yes. The UberBLACK is essentially the luxury version of today's UberX. "With this ride option, you can arrive at your destination in style with a black-on-black luxury sedan (or SUV if you're lucky)," says Uber.
Now, UberBLACK is getting a brand new feature: Quiet Driver Mode*.
Choosing whether you want to chat while heading to the airport or to an appointment is now your prerogative, as the app will soon have this feature. Users will be able to select between 'Quiet preferred,' 'happy to chat' or leave the setting at 'No preference', says TechCrunch.
The driver will also allow you to 'take your time' when getting to the car, giving you a whole 15 minute, instead of the normal 5 minutes you get with a normal UberX, before the driver cancels the trip, says Travel and Leisure.
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However, the meter will start running after 5 minutes, but the UberBLACK driver will stay put.
In March, the ride hailing company also announced that only drivers with ratings of 4.85 or higher will be allowed to drive an UberBLACK. i.e. the cream of the crop of Uber drivers.
(Don't worry if your rating is below 4.5, you will still be eligible for pick-up)
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However, TechCrunch notes that because Uber drivers are independent contractors they cannot be forced to stay quiet. Yet they might get a lower rating from the customer if they choose to ignore the rider's preference setting.
And some tweeters are protesting this new feature launch, saying Uber cannot police independent contractors in this manner and that, perhaps, the app should even consider setting the feature for both driver and rider: (WARNING: Explicit language)
*This feature will not be available in South Africa just yet, but will launch in a few select countries around the world.
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